Tracing my great-grandfather

KShips
15th November 2009, 20:13
Hey,

My ggrandfather, Andrew Camilleri from Malta, was a 2nd Mate in the British Merchant Navy during WW1. I am trying to research his time at sea through crew lists and agreements.

I only found his first ship - ss Clematis, built in 1898. He served in it between 21st November 1918 and 21st June 1919. They went on a voyage to South America but before they entered the Mediterranean. I have these 2 port names which I cannot identify. I cannot read the name - the one below Savona is the same as the one above Gibraltar.
The other port name is 'Villa Constitution', somewhere in South America. When I google it, there seems to be no place called Villa Constitution. Can anyone help please?

From the crew list and agreement of 'Clematis', his previous ship was ss Kerlew, registered in New York. Research at the National Archives of America, unfortunately resulted nothing. Can anyone guide me what maybe I can do next, please?
On Ancestry.com, under the section Crew Lists, I found an entry for Andrew Camilleri in New York. Could this refer to ss Kerlew because she was registered in New York? How do I know if this document belongs to my ggrandfather?

Thank you very much for your help.

Regards,
Kenneth

Roger Griffiths
15th November 2009, 20:40
Hello,
Did he serve in the British Merchant Navy after 1919?

Roger

treeve
15th November 2009, 20:48
I would be tempted to say it was Constitucion, Chile - south of Valparaiso.

KShips
15th November 2009, 20:50
Hey Roger,

Thanks for replying. A couple of years ago I researched from the National Archives at Kew to try to find his CR10 card. There was only one ship listed, this was the 'Clematis', dated June 1919. I do not know if this refers to the date that he signed off this ship or if he signed on again.

Regards,
Ken

treeve
15th November 2009, 20:54
Interesting Mystic Seaport website has no immediate record of SS Kerlew/Curlew, which is always my 'first port of call'.

KShips
15th November 2009, 20:55
Hello Treeve,

I admit that I did not provide enough information about the whereabouts of Villa Constitution. The voyage between Buenos Aires and Villa Constitution took 2 days and the journey between Villa Constitution and Montevideo took 3 days.

Regards,
Ken

Lancastrian
15th November 2009, 20:56
The illegible port could be ORAN.(Algeria)

treeve
15th November 2009, 21:00
I see you have a thread on site about the S S Kerlew.
I certainly agree on the port named Oran.
It may help you to assemble a written alphabet from the written paper.

KShips
15th November 2009, 21:00
Hello Lancastrian,

That's it! Thanks Dave!

Regards,
Ken

peter3807
15th November 2009, 21:02
Kenneth,

The Clematis may be,
ON 109887, 3406g, 2161n, 5717d, 344.5 x 46.0 x 16.8 feet.
T. 3-cyl, by North Eastern Marine Engineering Co Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne.
7.1898: completed by Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co, Newcastle upon Tyne for "Stag Line" Ltd, cost 33,800. 1916 sold to Leeston Shipping Co Ltd, Cardiff. 1920 sold to John Holt and Co (Liverpool). 1926: sold to Societa Anon, Maritime Catanese (G Napoli and Figli managers), Italy, 1929 sold to Italian shipbreakers.

(Stag Line 1817-1983, Nicholas J Robinson, World Ship Society)

Clematis follows the naming tradition of Stag Line, as your GG Grandfather sailed on her after they sold her I assume Leeston kept the name.

In the book there is an Image of the Clematis which is an interesting but primitive painting. There are two photos of sisters Gloxinia 1897 and Begonia 1899 which will show you what she would have looked like.

Regards

Peter

treeve
15th November 2009, 21:08
Villa Constitucion - Argentina

KShips
15th November 2009, 21:11
Thanks Peter for the info. I'll see what I can do about the book.

Ken

KShips
15th November 2009, 21:14
Thanks again Treeve for your work!

Kind regards,
Ken

eriskay
15th November 2009, 21:16
'Kerlew' may be the 1906 vessel out of Craig Taylor's Stockton shipyard?

1906 - Built as 'Virginia' for Unione Austriaca : 3,563 GRT
1917 - renamed 'Kerlew' for Kerr Navigation Corporation
1921 - renamed 'Mount Sidney' for United American Line
1922 - renamed 'Haros' for Oceana Sea Navigation Company
1927 - renamed 'Paolina Giuffrida' for A. Giuffrida
1933 - Broken up at Venice

treeve
15th November 2009, 21:17
Not sure if you have located the other port ...
I think ... Savona, near Genoa, Italy

KShips
15th November 2009, 21:19
Hello eriskay,

Correct, the 'Kerlew' is the one you mentioned. Thanks for your help.

Regards,
Ken

KShips
15th November 2009, 21:21
Hey treeve,

Thanks for your interest in my research. In fact, I located all ports in the 'Clematis''s voyage. Thanks for your help anyway.

Ken

randcmackenzie
15th November 2009, 21:36
Villa Constitution is a grain port about midway between Buenos Aires and Rosario on the Parana River.

I was there for about 3 weeks loading 10,000 tons of grain in 1966.

Monday load, Tuesday no grain, Wednesday rain, Thursday load a little, Friday fiesta, Saturday weekend, Sunday weekend, Monday no grain ...........

Not too hard to take.

PS I traded to Malta in 1970/71 on a little ship called Malta Cross. The cranes and wagons we used were supplied by a family called Cammileri - any connection?

KShips
15th November 2009, 22:18
Hello randcmackenzie,

Thanks for the reply.

About the cranes and wagons in Malta. The surname Camilleri, here in Malta, is quite common. However, although my ggrandfather's surname was Camilleri, my surname is Grima. And I do not live in the main island of the Maltese Archipelago, Malta. I live on the second island - Gozo, in a village of about 4000 people that once saw a very large number of seamen working in the British Merchant Navy. However, nowadays, unfortunately to say, there is no one who works at sea.

Thanks once again,
Ken

eriskay
15th November 2009, 23:35
Villa Constitution is a grain port about midway between Buenos Aires and Rosario on the Parana River.

I was there for about 3 weeks loading 10,000 tons of grain in 1966.

Monday load, Tuesday no grain, Wednesday rain, Thursday load a little, Friday fiesta, Saturday weekend, Sunday weekend, Monday no grain ...........

Not too hard to take.

PS I traded to Malta in 1970/71 on a little ship called Malta Cross. The cranes and wagons we used were supplied by a family called Cammileri - any connection?


The company you are referring to was a haulage general contractor, Roger Camilleri & Sons, who were located at Marsa. The founder, Roger, established himself in the late war years and the decade immediately after, when there was much work to be done clearing up the aftermath and chaos of the war. I think if my recollection is right he was able to buy up some ex-military surplus vehicles and this gave him his start.

Camilleri acquired and built up a large fleet of lorries and cranes capable of taking on the most major of projects in the engineering and construction fields. From nothing, the firm grew to become a major name and they were our local material handling selection when the Marsa 'B' Desalination Plant was installed, along with Malta Drydocks who were the local fabricator.

Camilleri is no more, but their Marsa facility remains as it was back in 1968 when I was a visitor there most days for a period of 16 months. I think the facility is now in the ownership of either Bezzina or Cassar Shipping, but I may be wrong in this.

Angus Mac Kinnon

KShips
16th November 2009, 14:11
Hello,

Were there any convoys in WW1 just like WW2? If so, is there any way to trace my ggrandfather through them?

Regards,
Ken

Roger Griffiths
16th November 2009, 19:33
Hey Roger,

Thanks for replying. A couple of years ago I researched from the National Archives at Kew to try to find his CR10 card. There was only one ship listed, this was the 'Clematis', dated June 1919. I do not know if this refers to the date that he signed off this ship or if he signed on again.

Regards,
Ken

Hello again,
The CR10 records at Kew are far from complete. Its a long shot but try for the original card in The Central Index Register of Merchant Seamen 1918-1941Held by Southampton City Archive.
http://www.southampton.gov.uk/s-leisure/artsheritage/history/archives/collections/merhantseamen/default.aspx
I think they charge 15 up front for 3 searchs but you would have to ask to make sure.

Just another thought.
You say your G/Grandad was a 2nd mate. Do you have his Certificate number? Do you know if he advanced above 2nd mate?

Roger

randcmackenzie
16th November 2009, 21:49
The company you are referring to was a haulage general contractor, Roger Camilleri & Sons, who were located at Marsa. The founder, Roger, established himself in the late war years and the decade immediately after, when there was much work to be done clearing up the aftermath and chaos of the war. I think if my recollection is right he was able to buy up some ex-military surplus vehicles and this gave him his start.

Camilleri acquired and built up a large fleet of lorries and cranes capable of taking on the most major of projects in the engineering and construction fields. From nothing, the firm grew to become a major name and they were our local material handling selection when the Marsa 'B' Desalination Plant was installed, along with Malta Drydocks who were the local fabricator.

Camilleri is no more, but their Marsa facility remains as it was back in 1968 when I was a visitor there most days for a period of 16 months. I think the facility is now in the ownership of either Bezzina or Cassar Shipping, but I may be wrong in this.

Angus Mac Kinnon

Thanks Angus,

I am quite sure you are correct, Roger Camilleri sounds familiar.

We knew the family quite well, and did not realise quite how much we were being honoured when we were invited to the annual Christmas party.

Held in their totally dressed up garage, with a band on the back of a lorry, it was attended by all their staff, and also anyone who was anyone in Malta at the time.

Quite a bash, I can assure you.

Best Regards,

Roddie.

eriskay
16th November 2009, 22:10
For Roddy MacKenzie :

Small world ! They were a decent crowd with some very loyal workers. I recall that the son (I think he was 'Roger' too) drove a beautiful E-Type Jaguar and was a bit of a car nut, who unfortunately took it a bit too far when over in either Italy or Sicily and came back with one leg less than what he left with following a particularly nasty smash.

Between their lorries, haulage and cranage they were coining it in when I was there (September 1968 - December 1969) and a large percentage of that revenue was coming from me..... : - (

Was in the wars with them all the time over their charge rates - a very painful experience for a Scotsman ! However, they were reliable albeit some of their fleet had seen better days.

Angus

ferrandou
16th November 2009, 22:37
Hello randcmackenzie,

Thanks for the reply.

About the cranes and wagons in Malta. The surname Camilleri, here in Malta, is quite common. However, although my ggrandfather's surname was Camilleri, my surname is Grima. And I do not live in the main island of the Maltese Archipelago, Malta. I live on the second island - Gozo, in a village of about 4000 people that once saw a very large number of seamen working in the British Merchant Navy. However, nowadays, unfortunately to say, there is no one who works at sea.

Thanks once again,
Ken

Hi Ken,

Was JOS on the Egyptian Prince with Joe Camilleri in 1960 or 61 from Gozo. First time in my life drunk on Ouzo, never again touched any drink with Anise.

Bob H

randcmackenzie
17th November 2009, 17:42
For Roddy MacKenzie :

Small world ! They were a decent crowd with some very loyal workers. I recall that the son (I think he was 'Roger' too) drove a beautiful E-Type Jaguar and was a bit of a car nut, who unfortunately took it a bit too far when over in either Italy or Sicily and came back with one leg less than what he left with following a particularly nasty smash.

Between their lorries, haulage and cranage they were coining it in when I was there (September 1968 - December 1969) and a large percentage of that revenue was coming from me..... : - (

Was in the wars with them all the time over their charge rates - a very painful experience for a Scotsman ! However, they were reliable albeit some of their fleet had seen better days.

Hello again Angus.

The ship I was on was a small roll-on roll-off ferry, with the capacity for about 60 20ft containers under hatches.

Camilleri's cranes and trucks used to take them off and transport them round the island.

The containers were up to about 20 tonnes 'declared' weight, and they had an old 20 ton crane. Soon the declared weights went up to 21/22 tons, and the crane was accordingly stencilled 25 tons. I'm sure it was tested somewhere.

The trucks were vintage British Albions, Seddons and AECs.

I seem to recall a George Camilleri, though not anyone with one leg.

It was all an enjoyable experience - well, most of it!

Best Regards.

randcmackenzie
17th November 2009, 17:54
Hello randcmackenzie,

Thanks for the reply.

About the cranes and wagons in Malta. The surname Camilleri, here in Malta, is quite common. However, although my ggrandfather's surname was Camilleri, my surname is Grima. And I do not live in the main island of the Maltese Archipelago, Malta. I live on the second island - Gozo, in a village of about 4000 people that once saw a very large number of seamen working in the British Merchant Navy. However, nowadays, unfortunately to say, there is no one who works at sea.

Thanks once again,
Ken

Hello again.

Our ship had 5 Maltese seamen, some of whom were from Gozo.

I recall a Joe Grech and a Rene? Zerafa?

We called in Valetta unexpectedly for engine repairs on our maiden voyage, and while at sea had wire brushed and primed the ship's name.

Unfortunately when we reached Valetta in the evening the name was still painted over in grey paint, so I told the lads they could have the rest of the next day off if they painted the name. Done deal.

Next morning I'm going for breakfast and here are the boys all dressed up and sloping off.

I enquired as to where the h they might be going.

They said 'You said we could have the day off if we painted the name - well, we got up at dawn, and its finished, so we're off.'

Have a nice day, I said. I made that bit up - but the name was all painted in, so the deal stood.

I have very warm memories of Malta and its people.

Best Regards.

KShips
18th November 2009, 14:00
Hey,

Randmackenzie, unfortunately I do not know who were these people. Maybe they were not from my village. Thanks for the "I have very warm memories of Malta and its people."

Now, I have another question in my mind. I have been thinking if the stamp "Cardiff" on the back-cover of his discharge book (the last surviving part) is related to the vessel 'Cardiff' (above the date 'June 26th 18'):
built in 1898
tons 2808
builder GRay
location of yard W Hartlepool
later renamed Konsul Schulte
sunk in 1942
Could this be possible?

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/168635/ppuser/16060

Thank you.

Regards,
Ken

Billieboy
18th November 2009, 14:51
Kships,

I seem to remember scanning through a list of ships, here on SN< built for an old Cardiff shipping company, only last weekend, I'm sure that there was a vessel named Cardiff in the list, as I know that there one called Barry.

Last time I was in Malta they were blasting the new Dry Dock and electing the first government of Malta. It really is a beautiful island, my favourite place in the Med.

eriskay
18th November 2009, 15:32
Kships,

I seem to remember scanning through a list of ships, here on SN< built for an old Cardiff shipping company, only last weekend, I'm sure that there was a vessel named Cardiff in the list, as I know that there one called Barry.

Last time I was in Malta they were blasting the new Dry Dock and electing the first government of Malta. It really is a beautiful island, my favourite place in the Med.


Although I spent a lot of my time at the Malta Drydocks during my 16-month assignment to the Island (1969/1969) it was only last year that a first saw the big drydock you are referring to. It is massive and I was very impressed with both the dock and the cranes servicing it, but amazed how poor trade was at that time. Malta Drydocks, unfortunately, did not seem to be doing too well. But all over the world, with the exception of possibly China and Korea, docks and shipyards are suffering.

I would share your views on the Island of Malta and its people ..... however, I HAVE to say that having married one nearly 38 years ago (==D)

In fact, she just flew back there late yesterday for a one-week visit back to see her family. Unfortunately I was unable to accompany her (MAD)

Binnacle
18th November 2009, 16:16
PS I traded to Malta in 1970/71 on a little ship called Malta Cross. The cranes and wagons we used were supplied by a family called Cammileri - any connection?

I digress.
I served on "Soutra", about 1971, when she was sold to Maltese interests and renamed Malta Faith. The mate left the company and went Master on the renamed Malta Faith. Would Malta Cross be the same outfit ?, probably not as I believe this ship and others were named after the famous Gloster Gladiators, Faith, Hope and Charity who defended the island, the owner having served in the RAF..

randcmackenzie
18th November 2009, 23:00
I digress.
I served on "Soutra", about 1971, when she was sold to Maltese interests and renamed Malta Faith. The mate left the company and went Master on the renamed Malta Faith. Would Malta Cross be the same outfit ?, probably not as I believe this ship and others were named after the famous Gloster Gladiators, Faith, Hope and Charity who defended the island, the owner having served in the RAF..

No connection so far as I know. Malta Cross was owned by a company called Malta Cross Continent Containers whose only ship she was. I left her in January 71, at which time she was running Malta/Marseilles/Malta. She later transfered to the Channel as Channelbridge 1, but I have been unable to find any reference to her eventual fate.

She was by far the smallest ship in Denholms, at less than a thousand tons dwt, but we were very well remunerated and smiling broadly most of the time.